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Abbott lies about vote fraud

Ross Ramsay calls him out for it, much more politely than I would have.

Not Greg Abbott

Once a consigliere, always a consigliere

The governor of Texas thinks that fraud in the electoral system that put him and others in office is “rampant.”

He can’t back that up.

Greg Abbott was asked on Monday what he thought about President Obama’s throwdown last week on the state’s lousy voter turnout.

“The folks who are governing the good state of Texas aren’t interested in having more people participate,” the president told The Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith at South by Southwest Interactive.

The chief of those “folks” would rather limit turnout than expand on what he seems to think is an election system that has run off the side of the road.


Strong word, rampant. The handy office thesaurus offers these synonyms: uncontrolled, unrestrained, unchecked, unbridled, widespread; out of control, out of hand, rife.

Does three cases of fraud for every 1 million votes strike you as “unbridled?”


A study done by News21, an investigative journalism project at Arizona State University, looked at open records from Texas and other states for the years 2000-2011 and found 104 cases of voter fraud had been alleged in Texas over that decade.

Chew on this: If you only count the Texans who voted in November general elections — skipping Democratic and Republican primaries and also special and constitutional elections — 35.8 million people voted during the period covered by the ASU study.

They found 104 cases of voter fraud among 35.8 million votes cast. That’s fewer than three glitches per 1 million votes.

As a point of comparison, Ramsay notes that the Texas Ethics Commission resolved 227 complaints through agreed orders out of over 500 complaints filed during the 2013-2014 biennium. That’s more than twice as many ethics complaints resolved, in two years, as there were allegations – not convictions, but allegations of voter fraud over more than a decade.

But it’s even worse than that. In this Trib story from the say before, about Abbott dismissing President Obama’s criticism about Texas’ abysmal rate of turnout and the resistance people like Greg Abbott have to doing anything about it, we find even more stark numbers:

“Voters and citizens repeatedly say, ‘Why go vote if we’re going to have corrupt leaders in office?’” Abbott said. “So we need to root out and eliminate corrupt leaders and root out and eliminate corruption in the voting process, and that means greater ballot security, not less ballot security.”

Abbott noted that he personally prosecuted voter fraud cases “across the entire state of Texas” while he was the state’s attorney general from 2002 to 2015.

Voter fraud remains by many accounts a rare phenomenon in Texas.

“You’re more likely to get struck by lightning in Texas than to find any kind of voter fraud,” U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, said last year, an assertion that PolitiFact found to be true.

As of last year, there had been a total of 85 election fraud prosecutions resolved in Texas, including 51 guilty or no contest pleas and 9 convictions, according to PolitiFact. Lorraine Minnite, a Rutgers professor and author of the book The Myth of Voter Fraud, determined that four cases in Texas from 2000 to 2014 involved in-person voter fraud.

Emphasis mine. Let’s put that in a bit more context:

Year     Turnout
2000   6,407,637
2002   4,553,979
2004   7,410,765
2006   4,399,068
2008   8,077,795
2010   4,979,870
2012   7,993,851
2014   4,727,208

Total 48,550,173

That’s only the November turnout figures, from only the even-numbered years. The total number of in-person vote fraud cases therefore represents one per 12 million votes cast. PolitiFact actually counted the other election totals, and came up with one per 18 million votes. And that’s prosecutions, not convictions; the PolitiFact story doesn’t discuss how those cases were resolved. I mean, you’re more likely to be killed by lightning than to find the kind of “voter fraud” Greg Abbott is so hot and bothered about. So yeah, he’s lying through his teeth. We should be very clear about that.

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  1. brad moore says:

    Wasn’t Abbott the main character in that book “Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them”?

  2. […] be a good start – then good on him, he deserves redress. If not, then shame on him for giving Greg Abbott some cheap ammunition, even if none of this has anything to do with voter ID. We’ll see what […]